Taggart brothers 'desperate' to avoid £8m loan liability, says bank


BELFAST HIGH COURT:TWO BROTHERS whose house-building empire collapsed in the property crash will grasp at any straw to avoid paying back more than £8 million (€9.9 million) in personal guarantees, the High Court in Belfast has been told.

Counsel for Ulster Bank questioned the validity of arguments advanced by Michael and John Taggart, including illness and the stress of getting married.

The property developer brothers are seeking to overturn a ruling that they are liable for loans made before their business went into administration four years ago.

In March of last year a master at Northern Ireland’s High Court granted summary judgment to the Ulster Bank in two separate writs for €5 million and €4.3 million. Proceedings were brought over joint personal guarantees for borrowings by their companies Taggart Holdings Ltd in Northern Ireland and Taggart Homes Ireland Ltd in the Republic.

Much of the case centres on a dispute over whether or not these guarantees were temporary. The Taggarts have argued they did not have the benefit of legal advice before they signed.

Opening the case in front of Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey, counsel for Ulster Bank Mark Horner QC said it was “an increasingly desperate attempt to avoid summary judgment”.

The hearing continues.